Convallaria majalis

How to grow lily of the valley (Convallaria)

Find out all you need to know about growing lily of the valley, in this start-to-finish Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do not Divide in March

Do not Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do Divide in September

Do Divide in October

Do Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Convallaria is better known as lily of the valley. In late spring, Convallaria majalis bears instantly recognisable, arching stems of bell-shaped, white flowers that have a wonderful perfume.

Advertisement

Lily of the valley is a low-growing, spreading perennial plant, and the dense clumps of lush, green foliage make good ground cover in shady spots. It’s a good choice for a woodland garden, shady border and for planting under shrubs, and it also makes a charming addition to a spring posy.

Take a look at our handy convallaria Grow Guide, below.


Where to grow lily of the valley

Convallaria majalis 'Hardwick Hall'
Lily of the valley ‘Hardwick Hall’

Grow Convallaria majalis in moist soil in full or partial shade.


Planting lily of the valley

Planting convallaria roots in pots
Planting lily of the valley roots in pots

Newly planted lily of the valley will struggle to grow in cold, wet conditions. Plant into pots during March, then grow on under cover before planting out when the soil has warmed up. By mid-May you can plant them out into your borders.


Propagating lily of the valley

Divide clumps of lily of the valley in autumn and grow on new plants under cover over winter before planting out.


Lily of the valley: problem-solving

Lily of the valley plants are generally free from pests and diseases.


Caring for lily of the valley

Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the valley thrives in the right location without too much interference. Scatter some leaf mould over plants in the autumn. Congested clumps will need dividing every few years.


Convallaria varieties to try

Convallaria majalis var. rosea
Convallaria majalis var. rosea
Advertisement
  • ‘Hardwick Hall’ – a cultivar with deep green, lance-shaped foliage with irregular cream-white stripes around the leaf edge. The flowers are larger than those of the standard Convallaria majalis
  • ‘Albostriata’ – a variegated lily of the valley, with cream-striped leaves and cream-white flowers. Most variegated cultivars revert to plain leaves within a few years, but ‘Albostriata’ is less likely to do so. Plants don’t spread so easily, which means it’s a good choice for smaller gardens
  • Convallaria majalis var. rosea – an unusual pale pink variety
  • ‘Vic Pawlowski’s Gold’ – with cream-striped leaves and larger-than-average flowers